May 06, 2019 - Set-aside designations are an important marketing strategy for small businesses in federal contracting. Meeting the requirements is not a green light to proceed, as timing is crucial in pulling the trigger, particularly with the SBA 8(a) certification. Too often companies waste the first few years finding the 8a contracts -- or rely too heavily on these contracts and graduate with no exit strategy. These economically and socially disadvantaged firms can also capitalize on the coveted 8(a) sole source awards. A winning formula includes knowing the set-aside rules but also how, when and where to use these strategic tools.